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Dancing with the Devil:
It shouldn't be a fascinating read, this book--it really shouldn't. It's just higher gossip about how Wallis Simpson took a younger lover after her marriage to Edward, and how she and said lover enjoyed nights of "nonpenetrative and principally oral sex." I mean, who cares? Shouldn't our minds be on higher things?
The trouble is, it's all absolutely fascinating. The lover was the mad, bad, and dangerous-to-know Jimmy Donahue: grandson of Woolworth's founder Frank W. Woolworth, heir to millions, and considered to be dashingly good-looking. (From the photos in the book, he looks a bit like a baby-faced bore, but maybe having those millions in the bank skewed perceptions of him, somewhat.) Donahue could fly a plane, could speak several languages, was a marvelous raconteur, and, on top of all this, was a promiscuous homosexual. That didn't stop him from forming a passionate friendship with Wallis, however, that soon turned into more than mere friendship. Wilson suggests that this constituted, on Wallis's part, perhaps "the greatest betrayal in history." Edward gave up his throne and kingdom for the woman he loved, only to have her take off with another man. However, it was never quite so simple as this. Edward didn't want a normal sexual relationship with Wallis, really--he got all of the satisfaction he wanted from playing with her feet--while she evidently continued to adore him, even if she found that the need for sexual satisfaction drove her into Donahue's arms. It might even have been that Edward knew, but didn't mind. The whole thing reads like some kind of royal soap opera, and, as such, it's absolutely riveting. --Christopher Hart, Amazon.co.uk [via]